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Alan Cheuse
Alan Cheuse in 2007.
Alan Cheuse in 2007.
Born (1940-01-23)January 23, 1940
Perth Amboy, New Jersey, U.S.
Died July 31, 2015(2015-07-31) (aged 75)
San Jose, California, U.S.
  • Novelist
  • columnist
  • short story writer
  • essayist
  • professor
  • radio commentator
Nationality American
Education Rutgers University

Alan Stuart Cheuse (January 23, 1940 – July 31, 2015) was an American writer, editor, professor of literature, and radio commentator. A longtime NPR book commentator, he was also the author of five novels, five collections of short stories and novellas, a memoir and a collection of travel essays. In addition, Cheuse was a regular contributor to All Things Considered. His short fiction appeared in respected publications like The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner, among other places. He taught in the Writing Program at George Mason University and the Community of Writers.

Early life

Cheuse was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Cheuse grew up in a Jewish family, the son of a Russian immigrant father and a mother of Russian and Romanian descent. Cheuse graduated from Perth Amboy High School in 1957.


Cheuse graduated from Rutgers University in 1961. After traveling abroad and working for several years at writing and editing jobs, Cheuse returned to Rutgers University to study for a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, which he was awarded in 1974. Cheuse wrote a thesis on the life and work of the Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier.

Cheuse taught literature at Bennington College for nearly a decade and then took posts at Sewanee: The University of the South, the University of Virginia, and the University of Michigan


Cheuse joined the faculty at George Mason University in the M.F.A. program and taught fiction. For over 25 years, he taught summers at the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and also served on its board of directors.

In the late 1970s Cheuse began publishing short fiction, beginning with a story in The New Yorker, followed with articles for Ploughshares, The Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner, and New Letters. He published his first novel, a biographical historical work about John Reed and Louise Bryant in 1982. Other works of fiction and nonfiction followed.

Cheuse was a regular book reviewer for the NPR radio program All Things Considered. In 1999, Cheuse also helped to found Fall for the Book, a nonprofit literary festival.

Personal life

Cheuse was involved in a serious car crash on July 14, 2015, on California State Route 17 while driving from Olympic Valley to Santa Cruz, California. Cheuse was reported to be in a coma on July 20, 2015 with injuries including fractured ribs, cervical vertebrae, and an acute subdural hematoma. On July 31, 2015, Cheuse died from his auto accident injuries in San Jose, California. He was 75.


Alan Cheuse's papers reside at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia.

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